Lessons in Korach (The Insanity of False Righteousness)



Jerusalem, Israel

HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

28 Sivan, 5766/23-24 June, 2006

It certainly was not going well at all. First there were complaints about the lack of water, then came the Golden Calf - an almost inexcusable sin. Next was the mad desire for meat, in spite of the fact that they all had their own cattle. Then the "grand slam" sin - despising the land, which caused 40 years of wandering. And now this, a rebellion on Moshe’s authority.

The first lesson that must be learned is the fact that, just like in last week's parsha, the spies were known as leaders of the tribes, men who were important. They misled the congregation of Israel in order to hold on to their high position, for it was known to them that they would not be rabbis anymore, upon entering the Land of Israel. So, too, in Parshat Korach we find that our Rabbis place an emphasis on the fact that these 250 men who rebelled along with Korach were leaders and important people of the community, so much so that they were the ones who calculated the Jewish calendar, certainly Torah giants. The Rabbis asked: Korach was a wise man and leader, what caused him to rebel against Moshe? A vision that he saw brought about his downfall, for he saw - but not clearly. He saw that greatness would come out from him (Samuel the Prophet), but he did not see clearly, for the greatness was destined to come from his sons and not from him. The glory of power clouded his eyes.

No, it does not always mean that our leaders are leading us down the wrong path, even though most times that is certainly the case. Just this week, Shimon Peres, to whom we owe so much spilled Jewish blood, came out and enlightened us by telling the press: "Missiles, shissiles: What is all the hysteria about? Why, what are a few Kassam missiles falling daily on Sderot? What are they, babies or something? Why, Kiryat Shmona had them fall for years!" Now that is a great leader! Aren’t we so lucky to have such visionaries leading us? Sure, give away more Jewish towns and have the Arabs rain down missiles in the heart of the country. Maybe this is all part of his sick plan to disengage from more of Israel.

And where is the call condemning this Chilul Hashem? Where are the voices of our Rabbis? First, they throw stones at us, and we were silent. Then they shoot at us, and now it's missile time. Why is there not a voice calling out about this horrible daily Chilul Hashem - letting Arabs freely rain missiles down on Jewish cities? How dare they go unpunished. tormenting the children of the living G-d of Israel!

Lesson # two - With rightesness like this, who needs sinners!

The rebellion was all set to go, with Korach and his men going from tent to tent and inciting the people against Moshe. The hour was getting late, so Korach told his people that they would meet tomorrow to confront Moshe. Yes, tomorrow would be the big day that they would take over. "On", one of the leaders of the rebellion, went home, but was not so comfortable with the whole thing deep down inside. He knew that this whole affair was just not right. His wife, Mrs. On, was a very wise woman who understood that there was nothing to gain by this whole mess, and she confronted her husband. After a few minutes, On himself knew that this was a dead end, but he saw no way to get out of his predicament, with Korach and his men just a few hours away from coming to his tent.

Just leave that up to me, said the wise Mrs. On, understanding all too well just how frum Korach and his men were. Later that same night, Mrs. On got On plenty drunk and she put him to bed. Sure enough, when the witching hour came for On to join up with Korach, Mrs. On sat outside their tent and let her hair down, just like that. Well, no frum man would look at a married woman’s hair (that’s how frum they were), so, unable to get past her and call on On, they moved on without him. And so, On was saved.

Lesson #2 is clear. Sometimes we get so caught up with the particulars that we lose sight of the whole picture. Korach and his men were so religious that they would not look at a married woman’s hair. All well and good, but to rebel against Moshe, thus losing both this world and the next, that was fine with them.

So we might just be losing sight of what Hashem really wants from us while we are bogged down with the particulars - if we check out the station too thoroughly, we just might miss the train.

With love of Israel,

Levi Chazen

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